The RISC-V architecture has been trying to put in our hands an Open Source alternative to Intel and AMD processors based on the x86 / x86-64 architecture and all the variants of the ARM-based microphones. But in addition to being an open source development free of royalties, its developers want to turn these chips into the safest microprocessors in the world .
For this they are working in an Open Source hardware enclave. This type of component has become famous in the chips of Apple that keep our fingerprints or our face in its “Secure Enclave”, and Intel has hardware extensions in its chips, but none of those platforms can be audited or improved externally . That is precisely what they propose in the RISC-V project: an Open Source implementation that allows to be accessed and studied freely and openly so that everyone can contribute to making it safer.
Security open to all
For a long time this type of components are integrated into our devices. The iPhone 5S had the Secure Enclave Processor (SEP) that allowed secure storage of the footprint we used with Touch ID, and extensions such as Intel’s SGX offer a similar solution, while AMD has its Secure Encrypted Virtualization technology (SEV). ) and ARM has its Trusted Execution platform.
In all cases, the idea is the same: put sensitive information in secure environments, and the sites allow you to do that. The problem with all these implementations is that they are proprietary , and that even promising maximum security have their security holes.
The only thing that ARM has achieved when going against RISC-V is to give publicity to a rival in diapers
Problems have been detected in both AMD and Intel solutions , and experts in the field of cybersecurity have already questioned the security of Apple’s platform in August 2017. For many, it is confirmed that ” security through the dark “continues without demonstrating its validity.
This week the RISC-V Summit was held, and those responsible for this architecture unveiled the plans ( here is the PDF of the presentation) for the development of the so-called Keystone Enclave .
RISC-V versus ARM and x86: the dawn of custom processors is Open Source
The goal is to create a “chain of trust” with various Open Source components. There is still a long way to go, but the focus of this body is especially interesting. In fact, it is the same one that is used to audit and protect the Linux operating system , which is far from invulnerable, but because of that open approach it offers transparency in this section, which is a very striking feature against proprietary platforms.